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Learn the most from yield maps

Combine yield monitors have lead the rush to precision agriculture. However, in their wake, this new technology has left many farmers knee-deep in yield maps that are too valuable to ignore, yet too complicated to fully understand.

This is the challenge that led Stephen, Minnesota, farmer Brian Jensen to seek advice from other farmers. Last summer, he posted the question shown above on Successful Farming magazine's Agriculture Online(tm) Internet site.

Following are some of the responses, along with input from other farmers and industry experts, to help provide him an answer.

Jensen explains that he uses an Ag Leader PF3000 yield monitor in his combine. To view yield maps and perform basic management of the data, he has relied on the SMS Basic (Spatial Management System) software that came with the monitor.

Like most farmers, Jensen was quick to spot drainage problems on his first yield maps. "It was obvious, and we did some ditching and laser leveling to correct the problem," he says.

Combine yield monitors have lead the rush to precision agriculture. However, in their wake, this new technology has left many farmers knee-deep in yield maps that are too valuable to ignore, yet too complicated to fully understand.

With his appetite whetted by initial success, Jensen is now anxious to get even more from his yield maps. "We're collecting a huge amount of data and are anxious to perform some additional analysis on it. We want to know what other farmers are learning from their yield maps and how theyÕre using the information," says Jensen.

GIS software stores, displays, and analyzes yield monitor data and can identify relationships between yield data and other layers of information.

Ted Macy, president of MapShots Inc, Cumming, Georgia, says GIS software programs, which cost from $1,500 to $4,000, allow farmers to analyze multiple years of yield map data.

Jensen has forged ahead in his yield map analysis efforts. He upgraded his software package to the SMS Advanced product new from Ag Leader. This GIS-based software does more analysis and permits multiyear averaging and profit/loss mapping.

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